Voice of the Hindus

Well we know that Pankaj Mishra dislikes Chetan Bhagat. But at the risk of offending the great man, we have to say that Three Idiots was a great movie (and many many people thought like-wise). 

Pankaj should from time to time, press the pause button on the let me explain brown bastards to white liberals dosh, and try his hand at a Mirch Masala kind of social drama, where the rapacious goonda (Hindu) has his eyes set on a beautiful young damsel in distress. The lady is saved by a valiant yet infirm chowkidar (Muslim) who himself dies in the battle. Now that was not so hard, was it?

OTOH Chetan is one of those brash Punjabi boys that we all love to hate and he is not very modest about his precious word-power either. Earlier he was found out giving advice to (Indian) muslims as to how they should be conducting their lives. Now inevitably, as we reach the high noon of Hindu power (last time Hindus had this much power was way back in 1192 AD when the Gujjar Rajput Chauhan dynasty ruled Delhi) he lists out a bunch of dos and donts for the Hindus (dont kick muslims when they are down).

Election results will be out today. Exit polls
indicate that a BJP-led NDA will be in power, riding on Narendra Modi’s
popularity.


It will be an unusual government, one of the rare times in our
contemporary history that a party will be in power despite a public,
near boycott by the Muslim community. In any case, a low percentage of
Muslim population voted for BJP historically. With Modi, they have gone
public with their disdain.





The same applies here. What do BJP and the Indian majority do with
this new Hindu power? Do we use it to settle scores with Muslims? Do we
use it to establish a majoritarian, intolerant state where minorities
are ‘put in their place’? Do we impose ourselves and say things like,
‘India is the land of Hindus’? Do we make laws more in line with Hindu
religion?


Frankly, we may have the power to do some of these things now. It may
even appeal to sections of the population. How-ever, be warned. This
would be an awful and terrible use of this power. In the long term, such
a thought process will only turn us into a conservative, regressive,
unsafe and poor country where nobody would want to come for business.


Our neighbors like Pakistan and Bangladesh are prime examples of
majoritarian states that have messed it up. Make no mistake, if this
rise of Hindu power is not channelled properly, we risk turning into one
of our neighbours. Anybody want that?


So how should this Hindu power be used? Here are five areas towards
which the new government and Hindu citizens’ efforts should be focused.


First, get India its rightful place in the world. India has to be
shoulder to shoulder with the world’s economic powers. We need to be a
high growth economy, with a stable business environment. The only risk a
businessman, Indian or foreign, should take is a business risk.


Political, regulatory or government uncertainty risk has to be
minimal. There have to be fair, pro-business policies, with no ‘gotcha’
regulations like GAAR or retrospective taxes. Experts are available to
tell us how to grow the eco-nomy; the will is missing. Let’s generate
that will. Remember, little money means little res-pect in this world
for a country, religion or community.


Second, go after corruption. It bothers Indians and needs to be
fixed. However, at present it also churns the wheels of our economic
system.
Draconian measures or finger pointing will solve nothing. It
might bring the country to a halt. You don’t solve a blood contamination
disease by cutting off the arteries of the heart. You make the blood
pure again one pill, one small transfusion at a time.


 
You don’t want all IAS officers or cops to stop working. You don’t
want them to be corrupt either. Hence incentive structures, laws,
mindsets and empowerment all need to be looked at. Indians don’t want
corruption solved next week. They just want a leader with genuine intent
to solve it. You have your time, but fix it.


Third, win over the Muslims. Even though Muslims may not have voted
for BJP, it has to win them over and Hindus have to open their arms to
them. This can only happen with love and understanding on both sides,
but the onus is on us. BJP must care better than any imam ever did for
Muslims.
 

Of course, this doesn’t mean appeasement. It does mean making Muslims
feel secure. 

It also means never encourage, but rather come down
heavily on violent and fundamentalist acts or those that curb another’s
personal liberty, irrespective of religion.


Fourth, redefine secular – one of the most abused words in Indian
politics today. No-body can define it clearly. The simplest description
is letting all religions coexist. But coexist how? Like oil and water?
Or like milk and sugar? We have to strive for the latter. We have to
blend in as Indians. Oil-and-water secular is not secular at all. It’s
just vote-bank politics.


Fifth, fix laws that keep us separate – no modern, liberal democracy
has separate personal laws based on religion. These laws keep us
separate in the ‘oil and water’ secular mode. Remove them. Same for
Article 370 in Kashmir. It’s one country, one system. Apply for
citizenship elsewhere if you don’t like the rules.


We are at an unprecedented crossroads in Indian history. On one side,
we have a chance to be one of the best in the world. On the other, we
could mess it up with brazen abuse of power. I am an optimist. I’d like
to think we shall all choose the former, and make India the great nation
it deserves to be.

……

regards

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